Hi Joan

Thanks for your email.

I'm not thinking that life is essentially meaningless, as some existentialists appear to do. The sense of time and foresight appear to have to do, in humans, with the development of the prefrontal cortex - so much larger, relatively to the rest of the brain, than for any other animal. If eternity is timelessness rather than the infinite, then living in the present is eternal. Animals have that. We are animals. We can have that. But we also have something else. That is the sense of time and meaning. It is because we have this sense that we can at all bring up the question of meaning. And as a result we have problems answering it. Some of the problems relate to the model of knowledge and vision that we have from science, male-hood [the male being more visual - apparently - than the female in humans] and the paradigm of optical vision as you noted and remarked by Hannah Ahrendt but also by others. In meaning we are venturing at the edge of the real and so should not expect precision or, even, any meaning to precision. The other  "problem" stems from the function of meaning overlaid as it is over the animal being in the present. We always have the freedom to return to that level but it is not in the nature of being human. Evolutionarily, the ability to know time and meaning is tied up, I believe and have stated many times, with the adaptation of adaptation that is in human being we find the lead in one line of development of integration into animal being of the mechanisms of evolution itself. That is, for example, intellect can solve problems that would otherwise require biological evolution. Popper noted that. But that only partially frees us up from biology and that is another source of the problematicity of meaning. But the main problem of the nihilism of meaning which is seen both existentially and in terms of the biological function is that meaning is in its immediate sense "that which has to be created" and this is not easy since by the conditions of its development must require full human resources - it is an adventure of blood not merely of sitting in an arm chair on a sunny afternoon with good food and wine and among good friends. There is alienation. So far it seems as though I am agreeing that meaning does not exist and requires creation. But at the next level, as we enter into and in part create the real - this is now the dynamics of the real - we are in fact truly being real for existence itself from no-thing to the world is not a determinate process...it is one of trial, selection many branchings and dead ends but...always with some living ends. So alienation, distancing from meaning is part of the process of meaning of the universe realizing itself...that is us we are right there in the universe we are (part of but a very real part of) it and our processes are its processes. Science, Christianity, the cult of tragedy, the cult of alienation, the cult of suicide, the cult of nihilism are all the cultivation of what is merely a phase in the process...when I feel futile I can make it easy on myself by saying that this futility is the ultimate nature of things. Then I can make that into a universal truth...that puffs up my sagging ego a little bit. And I can drag others into it. We both know persons who are at stagnant points in their lives having been dragged their by others seeking, perhaps not fully consciously, to confirm themselves. Anyway I am rambling...but alienation, the lack of meaning is part of the process of meaning, which is part of the process of being human, which is part of the process of evolution, which is part of the universal process of becoming and unbecoming which are not a 1 - 2 process but are very much entangled. OK that does not make it easier.

Oh. When I refer to the cult of suicide. I am not referring to allowing oneself to die or finding the right mode, knowing the right time and place when it is the right thing. That is a focus on what is right and necessary. The cult is something else.

Please do wait for me to come and tinker with the template before going on ahead. A little effort - by me - now may save more effort later.

Please feel free to give the materials to Sarah but please do impress upon her that it is private and not to be given to others.

I am working on some modifications to the three circles. It is in our nature to be both question and answer. And that question-answer is not merely symbolic but is also our flesh and blood that we think of as so very real and final.